The World Bank said in Washington on Thursday that it will provide extra 1.2 billion dollars in grants and loans to help overcome the global food crisis.
To address immediate and longer-term food challenges, the Bank said it will boost its overall support for global agriculture and food to 6 billion dollars next year, up from 4 billion dollars in 2008, and will launch risk management tools and crop insurance to protect poor countries.
The 1.2 billion dollars, which are designed to address immediate needs, supports safety net programs such as food for work, conditional cash transfers, and school feeding programs for the most vulnerable, according to a press release.
The 185-nation lending institution is going to have a summit next week in Rome, Italy.
"As we go into the Rome meeting next week, it is crucial that we focus on specific action" because "higher food prices are driving people and countries into danger," said Robert Zoellick, president of the Bank.
He said that aid should be provided to handle immediate humanitarian needs such as seeing that pregnant women receive proper nutrition and children at school are fed.
Longer-term help should go to small farmers to include seed and fertilizer for the next planting season so they can increase their harvests, he said.
"Along with our partners, these initiatives will help address the immediate danger of hunger and malnutrition for the two billion people struggling to survive in the face of rising food prices and contribute to a longer-term solution that must involve many countries and institutions," the president said.
Internationally, overall food prices have risen 83 percent in three years, according to the Bank.
(Xinhua News Agency May 30, 2008)